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Simple Guidelines to Help Protect Your From the Damaging Rays of the Sun

June 16th, 2011 Posted in Your Health

  1. Minimize sun exposure during the hours of 10am to 4pm when the sun is strongest.  Try to plan your outdoor activities for the early morning or late afternoon.
  2. Wear a hat, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when out in the sun.  Choose tightly-woven materials for greater protection from the sun’s rays.
  3. Apply a sunscreen before every exposure to the sun, and reapply frequently and liberally, at least every two hours, as long as you stay in the sun.  The sunscreen should always be reapplied after swimming perspiring heavily, since products differ in their degrees of water resistance.  We recommend sunscreens with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or more printed on the label.*
  4. Use a sunscreen during high altitude activities such as mountain climbing and skiing.  At high altitudes, where there is less atmosphere to absorb the sun’s rays, your risk of burning is greater.  The sun also is stronger near the equator where the sun’s rays strike the earth more directly.
  5. Don’t forget to use your sunscreen on overcast days.  The sun’s rays are as damaging to your skin on cloudy, hazy days as they are on sunny days.
  6. Individuals at high risk for skin cancer (outdoor workers, fair-skinned individual, an d persons who have already had skin cancer) should apply sunscreens daily.
  7. Photosensitivity – an increased sensitivity to sun exposure – is a possible side effect of certain medications, drugs and cosmetics, and of birth control pills.  Consult your physician or pharmacist before going out in the sun if you’re using any such products.  You need to take extra precautions.
  8. If you develop an allergic reaction to your sunscreen, change sunscreens.  One of the many products on the market today should e right for you.
  9. Beware of reflective surfaces!  Sand, snow, concrete and water can reflect more than half the sun’s rays onto your skin.  Sitting the shade does not guarantee protection from sunburn.
  10. Avoid tanning parlors.  The UV light emitted by tanning booths causes sunburn and premature aging, and increased your risk of developing skin cancer.
  11. Keep young infants out of the sun.  Begin using sunscreens on children at six months of age, and then allow sun exposure with moderation.
  12. Teach children sun protection early.  Sun damage occurs with each unprotected sun exposure and accumulates over the course of a lifetime.


*The Skin Cancer Foundation grants its Seal of Recommendation to sunscreen products of SPF 15 or greater and sun protection devices which meet the Foundations criteria as “aids in the prevention of sun-induced damage to the skin.”  For a complete list of products, please send a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope to:

The Skin Cancer Foundation, Box 561, Dept. SR, New York, NY 10156

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